Rob Wittig Art+Design
For this Summer project, I focused on utilizing one of the VizLab's great strengths—its well-chosen selection of sound recording and production equipment—to investigate technical and creative aspects of the new communication format of podcasting. Using the bundled software and applications contained in Apple's GarageBand program, I experimented with the creation of podcasts in a variety of formats and under a variety of conditions.
Technically: I investigated input modes—everything from the built-in microphones on laptop computers, to headset microphones used for internet telephony, to the VizLab's professional-grade microphones and connection devices. Using the powerful machines in the VizLab, I pushed the limits of GarageBand's recording and editing capabilities, in order to know the practical boundaries of the software. I also was able to use ProTools, a professional sound recording program, to contrast quality and feature issues and thereby further evaluate the GarageBand package. In addition I learned how to use GarageBand to create RSS feeds
Creatively I was able to experiment with the recording side of podcasting,experimenting with situations that simulated uses for: journalism and on-the-spot reporting, live recording of events, broadcasting, and filmmaking. As for production, I studied and learned a number of new tricks that allow me now to imitate production styles of radio news, radio entertainment, filmmaking, and to explore unique new styles that belong only to podcasting.
Pedagogically: this grant worked hand-in-hand with a summer Special Topics course I taught. I was able to lay the groundwork for keeping my students completely up-to-date on the latest versions of technology, and to (hopefully) inspire them to work in styles unique to the present day.
I am very appreciative for this opportunity to do a burst of intense research. I not only feel "caught up" on the technology…but (for a while at least) I feel I can lead students into the future.
Thank you for supporting UMD's Vizlab. It is an amazing resource for us as educators and researchers. The VizLab's commitment to technological excellence, the informative programming and special events, and above all the helpful and knowledgeable staff make it one of the very best aspects of scholarly life at UMD. In terms of UMD's Graphic Design and Digital Arts programs, the VizLab helps keep our professors up-to-date and creatively supported, and therefore keeps our program a highly-reputed, powerhouse program in the upper midwest.